Fort Snelling and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

An Introductory Online Classroom

The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 is one of the most important events in Minnesota history, and Fort Snelling played an important role in that war. The war's causes are complicated and varied, and have their origin in the interaction between the U.S. government and the Eastern (Santee) Dakota, made up of the Mdewakanton, Wahpekute, Wahpeton, and Sisseton Dakota. The establishment of the reservation system, U.S. government policies, increased European American immigration to Minnesota, divisions within the Dakota community, hunger, and other factors all contributed to the situation in Minnesota during the summer of 1862. The war resulted in hundreds of deaths on both sides, ruined lives and livelihoods, and the forced removal of the majority of Dakota and Ho-Chunk people from Minnesota.

This multimedia exhibit is meant to give you the opportunity to explore the war from the point of view of those who lived through it.

Click on the links to explore different perspectives on the war that changed Minnesota forever.

The Minnesota Historical Society gratefully acknowledges David and Barbara Koch for their generous support that has made this program possible.
Memories of War U.S. Military Non-Combatants Dakota "Peace Party" Dakota Soldiers